A Brooklyn Park couple has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the November 2017 death of a gravely malnourished foster child.
Sherrie Dirk, 33, and Bryce Dirk, 31, were indicted late Thursday afternoon by a Hennepin County grand jury on charges of first- and second-degree murder that also include allegations of child abuse, endangerment, neglect and "malicious punishment."
According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, the couple's 3-year-old foster daughter's weight had plummeted from the 98th percentile to the 13th percentile just weeks before her death. The county attorney's office said Brooklyn Park police found the girl unresponsive and wrapped in sheets after being called to the home when her father noticed she was not breathing.
The girl had one sheet around her neck and was "severely dehydrated," according to a news release. Bryce Dirk called 911 about 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 and the county attorney's office said no one had checked on the girl after Sherrie Dirk wrapped her in the sheets and left the child in her room with the door closed hours earlier.
Prosecutors are seeking bail of $2 million for each defendant. Sherrie Dirk was arrested Thursday evening and was expected to make her first court appearance on Friday. Bryce Dirk, who was arrested late Friday morning, does not yet have a first appearance scheduled. Neither Sherrie Dirk nor Bryce Dirk has attorneys listed for them in court records.
The 3-year-old girl had been living with the couple since arriving at their home in September 2016. Brooklyn Park police removed four other children from the home the night of the girl's death and prosecutors put the children in protective care after filing a Child in Need of Protection and Safety (CHIPS) petition that was later amended to a termination-of parental-rights petition.
On Facebook, Sherrie and Bryce Dirk have separately posted photos of them with the girl since her death.
The Dirks, through what appears to be a family member, set up a GoFundMe page asking for $3,000 to help with funeral expenses. More than $5,000 was donated. "Any left over funds will be used for the kids," one of the updates said.
Photos of the girl smiling with the Dirks were posted on the website, but there was no mention about how or when she died.
One of the updates that came from Bryce Dirk said: "Words can not express the free giving so many of you demonstrated. To have a relief from the financial burdens and to focus on what was truly the most important part at the time, to honor my little girl was more than I can express."